[Editor’s Note: Many of us have heard of Vastu but have not had the opportunity to learn how this science of design can impact our daily lives. Sherri Silverman’s book Vastu: Transcendental Home Design in Harmony with NatureVastu: Transcendental Home Design in Harmony with Nature, serves as an excellent introduction that you can use as a comprehensive resource to help make simple changes in your home and create greater harmony and balance.
Silverman has used her intimate knowledge of the subject, distilling her advice into simple, easy-to-follow instructions. The photographs in the book are very pleasing to the eye. The photographs follow her logic of having harmonious, clean spaces to live in, with each photograph standing as visual testimony of why you should implement her suggestions to create such spaces in your own home.
India Currents presents excerpts from Silverman’s book in two parts. The excerpts have been strung together to create magazine-length articles. I encourage you to read the entire book to discover the benefits of vastu for yourself.
Part 1 features excerpts that offer useful suggestions for improving the entryway in your home as well as for creating dynamic energy in the center of the house. The second part, to be published next month, will contain useful tips on how to create the right balance in the bedroom, kitchen, home office, meditation room, and gardens.—Nirupama Vaidhyanathan]
VASTU: Transcendental Home Design in Harmony with Nature by Sherri Silverman. Gibbs Smith. Hardcover: 160 pages. $29.95.
Vastu is India’s ancient Vedic tradition of design, architecture, and sacred space. Today, everyone is familiar with how yoga presents a path to greater harmony, health, energy, and joy in life. As the “yoga of design,” Vastu offers another way to achieve these benefits by working in alignment with nature when creating and enhancing the spaces in which we live.
Parts of a Vastu Home
Virtually any place can be or become sacred space. It depends on your intention and treatment of the space. A phenomenally supportive, living organism results when you buy Vastu-appropriate land and build according to Vastu guidelines with a trained Vastu professional. But if you don’t have this option, focus on what you can do to rectify and enhance the home you already have.
Threshold and Entryway
Vastu recommends keeping your home fresh and clean to welcome the divine. This includes keeping the approach and entrance to your home clean, welcoming, and well maintained. Cobwebs, dirt, peeling paint and disrepair send out a message of poverty, If there is room without making the entry seem cramped, put pots of healthy plants on each side of your door.
A common problem when people are overwhelmed is letting clutter accumulate on the front porch by the door. Avoid having anything here that is not useful or attractive. Unfinished projects drain your energy, and seeing a collection of discarded objects and uncompleted projects gives a burdened, harried impression.
Many people enter their homes through the garage instead of through the front door. If you can, enter the home through the front door instead, so long as it is properly placed. Be sure that the attention paid to the condition and beauty of the front door is also given to the door from the garage into the house. Is it clean and painted? Is it well-lighted and welcoming? If the door is scuffed up and dreary, you are sending yourself that message every time you go through it. You will feel more uplifted if you lavish some care on this important entrance.
Vamsa Danda: Your Home’s Spine of Light
Vastu recommends that your home have a clear, straight path through it from the front door to a back door or window. This allows the continual passage of light, air, and solar energy for nourishment of the house. The vamsa danda enhances the flow of prana to radiate throughout your entire dwelling. It is a pleasant feature in its effect, both visually and energetically, for houses with a vamsa danda do not feel as closed in and stagnant as homes without one.
Brahmasthan: The Nourishing Center of your Home
The Brahmasthan, the center of each room and the center of the building, is one of the most vital features of Vastu, since it is the area from which energy is self-generated into the home. The Brahmasthan of the house should be left open with no walls, beams, heavy weights, or blockages.
The center of each room should also be treated in this way: avoid putting heavy pieces of furniture here. Vastu recommends placing a skylight or cupola with clerestory windows above the Brahmasthan. If you do not have a clearly defined, open Brahmasthan and cannot make structural changes, there are a few small techniques you can use to honor the Brahmasthan and recognize its energies. I have used luminous gold paint to decorate and define the central part of the house by painting the ceiling to at least acknowledge its importance. The Brahmasthan of the house can be a central courtyard open to the sky. This is a wonderful feature to enjoy a close connection with nature.
Sherri Silverman is an artist, writer, and Vastu sacred space design consultant. Sherri taught meditation, yoga, healing breath techniques, and sacred text courses from the Vedic tradition for more than thirty years. Sherri works with Vastu clients nationally and internationally through her consulting business Transcendence Design.